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08-15-14: Anonymous toll-free phone tip line enhances school safety
08-15-14: Anonymous toll-free phone tip line enhances school safety
Posted on 08/01/2014


 Students, parents, and community members can access an anonymous tip line to report a potential school-related crisis, inappropriate behavior, or suspicious activity to school administrators.


Stickers and posters advertising the tip line and its recently changed phone number will be posted in all 32 district schools and support buildings. The new toll-free number is 1-855-782-0798. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be accessed year-round.


Tips can be called in about safety issues such as weapons, bomb threats, fights, bullying or harassment, abuse, arson, criminal activity, gang activity, suicide, vandalism, and theft, said Barb Pope, director of student services and school safety.


If the person who calls is also the person who is contemplating suicide, he or she is connected immediately to a trained counselor at the Suicide Prevention Hotline.


The line is monitored by SafeSchools, an organization that the Puyallup School District also partners with to provide online safety training classes for its employees.


It provides a confidential option, Pope said, for parents and students who might fear reprisal, don’t know how to access other communication tools, or need to report volatile information after school hours or on the weekend.


Callers have the option, she said, of leaving a message or speaking directly with an operator. All calls are documented and disseminated to the appropriate school district authority to investigate and take action as needed, Pope said.


If an urgent call is received after school hours, district and/or school administrators receive a call on their home or cell phone numbers, she said.


Callers who speak directly to operators receive a case number and can call back in several days for an update about their call.


There is no cost for the service, Pope said. The district is also eligible for a discount on its annual insurance policy by providing the SafeSchools Alert number to students and the community.


The new tip line is the next in a series of steps the district has taken to ensure student safety. A weapons hotline will continue to be advertised in student handbooks, and wooden boxes have been available in many school offices to collect anonymous tips, Pope said.


Students, parents, and community members are encouraged to continue to contact a school administrator or other staff member directly with concerns, Pope said.


Click to view or print the SafeSchools Alert flier.